Hamer Hall by ARM Architecture
Public Architecture: National Commendation
Australian Institute of Architects
The Hamer Hall redevelopment has made significant improvements to the existing Roy Grounds-designed facility in a number of important areas. It has repaired the performance acoustics and installed state-of-the-art technology and back-of-house facilities in a way that leaves the appearance of the hall apparently unchanged. Seating, view lines and airconditioning have been dramatically improved.
Whereas the original building contained unresolved conflicts between the modernist architecture and the theatrical interiors, the renovation has completely redesigned the patron amenity of the venue in a way that resolves the conflict. The modifications involved opening up and increasing the foyer area, adding toilets and lounges, solving accessibility problems and improving flow around the public spaces. The interiors have been augmented and extended, in perfect harmony with the original interiors by John Truscott, but with an architectural clarity and strength derived from Grounds and a sense of drama contributed by ARM.
The most visible changes are to the riverside section of the precinct. Here, rather than integrating, the approach has been a sympathetic but clearly distinguishable element. An off-form concrete block forms a robust base to the existing drum and houses food and beverage outlets that spill out onto the waterfront promenade. Dramatic improvements have been made to the surrounding urban spaces and Princes Bridge through the removal of insensitive elements. A stair between Hamer Hall and the bridge embankment allows the bridge to be perceived clearly and links it in a natural and elegant way to the riverside promenade.
Read the project review by Conrad Hamann for Architecture Australia.